Vietnam is globally known for its strong flavored coffee, featuring a delicious combination of traditionally roasted Robusta beans and sweetened condensed milk. Yet, the country is a famous producer of weasel coffee – the coffee beans collected from weasel poop.
Poop coffee sounds funny to many travelers including our customers on Hanoi food tour, despite coffee beans collected from weasel poop are actually among the most expensive beans in the world. So, “how is weasel coffee made?”, and “how does weasel coffee taste?”, or “is weasel coffee real? are questions we would like to answer in this article post.
1. How Is Weasel Coffee Made?
As a weasel anecdote goes (we are foodie guides, so we answer questions by telling stories), there was a farmer who went to his coffee farm during the harvest season, where he found out that all ripen berries had gone, only green ones left on the coffee trees. While he was wondering what happened to the ripen berries, he noticed there were several blocks of coffee beans sticking together in the form of animal poops on the ground.
The farmer decided not to waste these beans, so he picked all the poops and brought them home. After washing these beans from the poop, drying them in the sun, he roasted the beans and realized that the “poop coffee” had much better flavor than the regular coffee!
The farmer also discovered that these coffee beans were perfectly protected by a thin silk pellicle in the form of the weasel poop. The silk pellicle was developed by the animal’s enzyme, fermenting the beans and keeping them unharmed from the surrounding environment.
That motivated him to look for more of that animal poops on the ground in the coffee farm to bring home. One day, he went to the farm while it’s still dark to catch the animal that had been eating his coffee berries, and he witnessed some wild weasels were eating his ripen coffee berries and pooping out the beans.
From then, the farmer spent time searching for blocks of coffee beans sticking together, in the form of weasel poops.
2. How Does Weasel Coffee Taste?
As its instinct, the weasels climb from trees to trees to find only the best and ripest coffee berries to eat. Unlike the rodents that eat the fruit’s flesh and trigger off the seeds, the weasels just slightly chew the berries’ flesh and swallow the beans.
Once the berries get into the weasel’s stomach, the flesh will be digested but the beans are synthesized with digestive acids and enzymes in the animal’s stomach. During that process, the bitterness of the bean is mostly eliminated, while the enzyme chemicals are absorbed in the beans making the coffee beans less caffeinated.
Because of how weasel picks the ripen berries, weasel coffee is a natural selection of high-quality beans. Once roasted, they become more aromatic with vanilla smelling. Therefore, weasel coffee generally tastes smooth and earthy with caramel chocolate flavor.
3. Is Vietnamese Weasel Coffee Real?
After the wars, Vietnam’s jungles and coffee plantations were vastly damaged and destroyed by bombings. The habitat of wild weasels therefore influenced; less wild weasel eating the coffee cherries, and farmers no longer encounter weasels in their farms.
To meet the demand for weasel coffee from coffee connoisseurs, Vietnamese farmers has been raising weasels within their coffee farms. Beside feeding the carnivore animal with meat, fish, banana and other fruits, they routinely feed them ripen coffee berries.
Even though, the farmed weasels only eat the best berries among those picked by the farmers. They leave behind yellowish berries, unyielding or over-ripe berries. This is why the farmed weasel coffee still as good as in the old days, and Vietnamese weasel coffee is real.
4. How Expensive is Weasel Coffee?
Each farmed weasel only produces about 1 kilogram (2,2 pounds) of coffee beans a year. Because, during the harvest season from October through January, the farmer feeds the farmed weasels with coffee berries on two separate days a week, the animal gets to eat something else like bananas or chicken soup on other days.
After these two-coffee-days, weasel poops are collected in the next morning and kept in 6 months for fermentation before being washed and dried for three days in the sun (just like regular coffee) for roasting.
Because of that long process, some Vietnamese weasel Robusta coffees sell for about 1000$ per kg (2,2 pounds), while a cup of weasel coffee could be sold for about 5$ or more.
We hope the post brought you some thing interesting to read! You may also want to know about Hanoi’s egg coffee. Please contact us if you are looking for a private Hanoi food tour with a real local foodie, we are good at what we are doing and looking forward to showing you around our city.